Jason Peters is 38 years old and will hit free agency come March. The Philadelphia Eagles have prepared for a Peters departure for over a year, starting with the selection of Andre Dillard in the first round of last year's draft.
Natural selection in football states the Eagles would move on from Peters and start Dillard at left tackle next season. The Eagles may not be ready for that plan to come into fruition just yet.
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson didn't rule out Peters returning to the Eagles for a 12th season, giving a "heck yeah" when asked if he wants Peters back. General manager Howie Roseman didn't slam the door on a potential return also.
"A big part of this week is accumulating information. That's what we do here," Roseman said at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis Tuesday, per the Eagles website. "Obviously, when you're talking about Jason Peters, you're talking about a Hall of Fame player, a Hall of Fame person, someone that's very special to us and played at a really high level last year. We'll go through all those decisions this week."
Peters isn't your typical Eagles free agent, since he is one of the longest tenured players and one of the greatest offensive linemen in franchise history. Since the Eagles traded for Peters in 2009, he has made seven Pro Bowls and four All-Pro teams, solidifying himself as one of the best linemen of his era.
Peters has nine total Pro Bowl appearances in his 16 seasons with the Eagles and Buffalo Bills. Five of the eight tackles with nine-plus Pro Bowls have made the Pro Football Hall of Fame (with Joe Thomas sure to join them in the coming years). Peters will certainly have a spot in the Eagles Hall of Fame when his career is over, which is why the Eagles want to be careful with his potential departure.
The Eagles want to avoid another Brian Dawkins situation regarding Peters. Perhaps they didn't discuss their 2020 plans with Peters yet nor make a decision without consulting him first.
"You try to make decisions first that are best for the football team and at the same time have respect and appreciation for what guys have done," Roseman said. "What guys have done going forward and have been a part of your organization for a long time."
That's how highly the Eagles think of Peters. They may be ready to turn the page to Dillard at some point, but there is the possibility Peters does return in 2020.